We are always keen to receive news of any events or courses which might be of interest to the general public or other meadow owners. Do please contact us below:
CMG members event – 3 July 2022
At one of our online meetings recently, we had a very interesting talk by Sorcha Lewis, who runs a farm in the Elan Valley. If you didn’t attend the talk, you can see a recording of it and the subsequent Q&A and discussion on our YouTube channel here:
Sorcha is an active member of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), about which we heard more at a subsequent online meeting with their organiser in Wales, Rhys Evans. You can find his talk, as well as all the others from our online meetings, on the channel:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1szE6Y3JQMP-6ukQejGdVQ
Sorcha has very kindly invited CMG members to visit her farm, and she will show us round. The date is Sunday 3rd July. Meet at 10:30 and we will be shown round the meadows which will be a great experience. We’ll then go to a nearby tea room for lunch, and after that visit a nearby Coronation Meadow which is around 20 minutes away by car. If you prefer, you can just see Sorcha’s farm and then go home, lunch and the coronation meadow visit are both optional. From Carmarthen to the Elan Valley is about a 1h 30min drive.
This is a CMG members event. Details of how to book were in the email sent to each member.
23 March 2022 – 7.30pm Online
Rhys Evans of Nature Friendly Farming Network, Richard Smith of Butterfly Conservation, and Malcolm Edwards of Gwenlais Coppice and Charcoal.
The Nature Friendly Farming Network is growing in presence year by year. It has been mentioned before in a recent CMG meeting, when we heard from Sorcha Lewis in the Elan Valley and who is a member of NFFN. Rhys Evans is the organiser of the network in Wales, and will tell us about its aims and how it works.
Brown Hairstreak butterflies have declined alarmingly in our county and elsewhere, and this is connected with autumn flailing of hedgerows. Richard Smith of Butterfly Conservation will explain why.Another method of managing hedges is hedgelaying.
Malcolm Edwards is a hedge laying contractor based in Carmarthenshire, and he will be telling us about the benefits to wildlife of managing your hedges this way, and about the numerous styles of hedge laying seen in different areas of Wales.
As usual members may access the event free – non members £2 using the link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-nature-friendly-farming-network-hedge-management-brown-hairsteaks-tickets-221552668997
10 February 2022 – Our next CMG meeting will be on Thursday 10th February at 7:30pm. We’ll be hearing about, and discussing, floodplain meadows, and we’re very fortunate to have Leila Thornton from NRW as our guest speaker.
Floodplain meadows generate a sustainable and prized hay crop, provide an important nectar source for pollinating insects, and support rare plant communities. They also provide flood-storage areas, trap sediment and store carbon, and will be increasingly valued for these functions as the climate changes. They provide a link with the past, and are a living reminder of traditional, rural landscapes and the ways of life that created them. In Carmarthenshire, the restoration of the Bishop’s Palace at Abergwili near Carmarthen includes restoring the floodplain meadow there.
Leila Thornton (Natural Resources Wales) will be telling us about the history, wildlife and conservation status of floodplain meadows. Leila is one of the Ambassadors for Wales of the Floodplain Meadows Partnership, which is an organisation hosted by the Open University, and is steered by the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the RSPB, the Field Studies Council, People Need Nature, and the National Trust.
CMG members will be able to attend the meeting for free, but non-members are also very welcome to attend by paying a nominal entrance fee (£2). If you’d like to attend the meeting but are not currently a CMG member, you can get a ticket (or join the group if you so wish) by visiting:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/floodplain-meadows-tickets-230373983787
If you are a CMG member you don’t need to buy a ticket, and you’ll already have been sent details of how to join the meeting.
This should be a very interesting talk and discussion, so we hope many followers of the website will join us.
January 6 2022 – The first CMG meeting of the new year will be on Thursday evening (Jan 6th) starting at 7:30pm, when we’ll be hearing from Abigail Lowe who has recently completed her PhD project at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Abi was studying pollinating insects, and concentrating on species other than the social bees (honeybees and bumblebees). Abi has used DNA barcoding techniques to study the pollen carried by pollinating insects. A DNA barcode is a short region of DNA used to identify species. Scientists all around the world are working together to DNA barcode all living things, allowing organisms to be identified where morphological identification is not possible. The Garden has contributed to this global effort by creating the Barcode UK database, which made Wales the first nation in the world to have a reference library of DNA barcodes for all its native flowering plants.
For Abigail’s research, insects have been collected monthly across the National Botanic Garden and Waun Las National Nature Reserve and the pollen removed for subsequent analysis. The DNA within the pollen is then extracted and the DNA barcode marker is amplified. This amplified DNA is sequenced and compared with the Barcode UK database to identify its origin.
This project aims to discover which plants pollinators use, as well as specific questions such as whether native or non-native plants are preferred, and is there any resource partitioning between species or within species? The answers to these questions can tell us how to manage land in order to increase pollinator populations and prevent further decline.
Thursday 25th November at 7:30pm – we’ll be hearing from Sorcha Lewis about her farm in the Elan Valley, If you’re a CMG member you’ll be sent details of how to join the meeting, but non-members are also welcome – but you need to get a ticket (it’s £2, as it was for village hall meetings for non-members). To get your ticket, go to:
For the meeting on January 6th 2022, where we’ll be hearing about pollinator research at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, go to:
We hope to see you at both meetings, anyone who attended the Plantlife Talks on Conservation Grazing will know how amazingly well Sorcha manages to combine farming and conservation; and Abigail Lowe from the NBGW has done some really interesting research on what resources wild pollinators need, and the best ways to help them. Remember, if you’re a member of CMG you don’t need a ticket! If you’d like to join the group, visit: https://membermojo.co.uk/cmg and click on “Join/Renew”.
The next online meeting will be on Thursday October 28th, at 7:30pm when Bruce Langridge from the National Botanic Garden of Wales will tell us about “Farming and Fungi”. Members of CMG will be getting an email with all the info they need to participate, and need do no more. But if you’re not a CMG member but would like to go to the meeting, you can find out more here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/farming-and-fungi-tickets-184698426967
The arrival of Covid-19 and the need to respond to the growing pandemic has had a huge effect on conservation organisations, both large and small. Our group is no exception; we had to cancel our big indoor meeting we had planned at Myddfai in the spring, we couldn’t arrange site visits or other outdoor events involving travel during the lockdown, and we won’t be able to have a big indoor meeting this autumn. So, in place of the indoor meetings in different village halls around the county, we’re planning to arrange for talks we would normally have heard live, to be delivered via Zoom. Zoom is rather like Skype, but generally thought to be more versatile, and it’s become very much more widely used during the pandemic. Zoom users can meet online, with or without video, so it’s an ideal alternative for us to use to deliver talks, allow the attendees to ask questions, and have a resulting discussion, in complete covid safety while we can’t have indoor meetings. Many of you may already have used it to attend meetings or talks without having to leave your own home, and to keep in touch with friends and relatives while you can’t meet with them face to face. If you haven’t used it, do give it a try, many of us hadn’t until the pandemic struck this year; but for now, and probably for some time into the future, it’s the new normal.
The first of what we hope will be a series of Carmarthenshire Meadows Group Talks this autumn and winter will be on Tuesday 27th October, at 7.30 pm, and will be given by Caroline Orr, Senior Project Officer of Afonydd Cymru, and Harriet Alvis of the West Wales Rivers Trust. Caroline was to have given us a talk at the meeting in Myddfai that we had to cancel. Full details of the talk can be found here:
If you’d like to attend the talk (and you don’t have to drive across the county to do so!), just click on the link above, and register for your ticket. We hope you’ll give it a try!